Community Promotion Department, Commerce and Industry Division, Katsushika City
Katsushika City, or Katsushika-ku, is the third largest factory integrated area, following to Ota City and Sumida City. With full of downtown community humanity, the City is an area where connection between business managers is strong. In the City, the Katsushika Campus of Tokyo University of Science will open in April 2013, and preparations for the industry-university cooperation have been promoted. We interviewed Kazutoshi Okubo, Chief of Industry Promotion Unit, Commerce and Industry Department, Community Promotion Division, Katsushika City regarding "now" of the City’s support initiatives.
In Katsushika City, a wide range of factories, which conduct/manufacture metal press, machine parts, powder metallurgy products, rubber belts and hoses, toys, etc., are integrated. Interestingly, the City has various local industries, such as jewelry ornaments manufacturing, antimony products manufacturing, and knitwear manufacturing. Traditional crafts such as Edo Kiriko (facet objects), Tokyo silverware, Edo wood sculptures, Edo articles of tortoise shell, and Edo battledores bearing on one side a padded picture are also thriving; 46 item are certified as Katsushika City Designation Tradition Industrial Art Objects.
From fiscal 2007, we have worked on a promotion of “Katsushika Factory Story,” which is a brand to certify superior products, components, and processing technologies in the City. We have certified 59 products as the Brand, which are jointly presented at nationwide exhibitions, including M-Tech (Machine Technology) Exhibition and Tokyo International Gift Show. Also we distribute a collection of stories, a Manga book, which introduces as human dramas how much they struggled for developing the stuff and technologies at important places. The Manga book helps promoting companies as a friendly and easy-to-read media.
Organizational activities among companies are also brisk. "Katsushika Traditional Industries Craftsman Meeting", for example, where traditional craftsmen gather, has been working jointly on expanding sales channels through managing outlets for traditional crafts, as well as on developing successors. There are many business managers with downtown humanity, which results in a stronger network—that’s an attractiveness of the region. Every October we hold the "Katsushika Industry Fair (an exhibition for industries, commerce, tourism, agriculture and traditional industries)" for 6 days, which has attracted a number of companies and organizations, and has been established as one of Tokyo's largest industry events.
From fiscal 2011, we have promoted the “’Katsushika Machikoba (small factories)’ Activation Plan through Industry-Academia-Government Collaborations” based on the "Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Creation Grant Program for Creative Urban Industries.” The industry-academia-government collaboration program, which will be actively implemented taking the opportunity of Tokyo University of Science’s campus opening in Niijuku/Katsushika-ku in April 2013, is the basis for the Plan.
There are many small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, with four employees or less, which comprise 70% of total manufacturers in the City, and many of them are subcontractors. For them to secure rigid management, unique technologies or development of their own products should be critical. We, therefore, initiate creating opportunities for exchange meetings to promote joint developments with the University. The initiatives include: mutually visiting factories of enterprises in the City and the University’s laboratory in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, and assigning one of the University’s coordinators for industry-university collaborations exclusively to Katsushika City.
Although visiting tours and exchange meetings were held in already in 2012, thresholds of any university laboratory were rather high for SMEs. Thanks to caring supports of University’s professors and others at exchange meetings, we feel the threshold has been lower. Starting from smaller projects, which, however, could lead to trust building and larger development projects.
From fiscal 2013, as an industrial human resources development support project in the City, we will subsidize half of expenses if any employees of enterprises go to school for acquiring skills and knowledge. In addition, when enterprises request quality inspections from inspection agencies and/or universities, or if they want to use machines for prototype-production, we will subsidize half of the expenses. With these initiatives, we hope to promote industrial developments of Katsushika City.
Address: 7-2-1, Aoto, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo (in Techno Plaza Katsushika)